Methods for Becoming Calm
To calm your body:
- Breathe deeply. Inhale slowly into your diaphragm, paying attention to the air all the way in and all the way out. Be with your body. Repeat 4-6 times. The body relaxes with such regulated and increased oxygenation.
- Open your senses. Pay attention to what you can hear, what you can see, what you can smell, what you can taste, and/or what you can feel. Your senses are your access to the world, and compared to your own stress, the world is very stable.
- Be in nature. Go outside and be open to temperature, weather, plants, animals, and your body’s responses. Nature is generous, inspiring, settling and calming.
- Expand your body from within. Become tall, lengthen your neck, broaden your shoulders, expand your rib cage, lengthen your arms and legs, stretch your skin. When your body is tight, it hoards tense emotions; when your body is expanded, it welcomes generous emotion.
To calm your mind:
- Count your blessings. Think of five things you’re thankful for and savor them. Especially be mindful to the blessings and advantages you enjoy that you didn’t earn. Appreciation of what’s good switches the mind off something you might be judging negatively.
- Laugh out loud. Chuckle, giggle, tee-hee. Generate it from your belly, your chest, your throat, your nose, your toes. Just find some form of laughter inside of you and let it come out your mouth. Laughter is a very effective medicine.
- See truth. Think of something you know to be true. Even small truths work well here: The sun is shining (or it’s raining); I love my dog (or my child, or my spouse), I am well-fed (or hungry), I like ice cream (or swimming, or a good book, or martinis). Truth will help you stop any story your mind might be spinning.
- Be present. Take note of whatever you are doing. If you are eating, savor every bite; if you are working, focus on the task; if you are walking, observe the roll of your feet, the resilience of the ground, the sounds and textures of the environment. Focus your mind on what is, and you will find ease from whatever story your brain is making up.
- Seek out darkness and quiet. Turn off all the lights. Find a comfortable position and make full use of ear plugs and eye shields. Sometimes removing all sensory distractions can be provide the release you need.
To calm your emotions:
- Smile. Using MRI, researchers have discovered that turning up the corners of the mouth changes the way the synapses in the brain fire. Just by smiling, you move your brain activity to a happier location of the brain.
- See beauty. Notice something you believe to be beautiful and savor it. Seeing beauty is like seeing truth, except on the emotional level. Enjoying the beautiful will ease your heart away from any agitation and cool heated emotions.
- Be silly. Stick out your tongue, wiggle your butt, dance a jig, cross your eyes – let down your defenses. To be silly for even a few moments will helps you transcend any tension-causing rules that bind you to beliefs and behaviors that may not be true for you.
- Evoke a neutral emotion. Basically, this is letting go of judgment and becoming the observer. That transition moves you from stress to serenity.
For best results, put together a combination that brings body, mind and heart all into calm
at once. For instance, a combo I like – especially when being outside in nature isn’t an
option – goes like this:
2. Breathe deeply
3. Expand your body
4. See truth